However, where evolution has remained stilted and in need of a swift kick up the pants is the world of politics where the rut of ordinariness has become ever deeper as the decades threaten to elongate into centuries. Now we are so nearly free of the restraints imposed on us by the European Union our country would benefit, I suggest, greatly from political evolution. Not revolution, I should clarify, but evolution. In our glorious past we tried revolution and the result was that the innocent were used as cannon fodder and life went on as it always did once Cromwell got himself comfortable as the self-imposed Lord Protector. The process of Government may have altered but the result for the people in the street was ‘same as usual’.
What I propose is different to what Cromwell and his chums tried to achieve. He wanted abolition of the monarchy. I want abolition of political parties. I want to see politicians unshackled from peer pressure. I want to see politicians free to express what is in their hearts and minds. I propose a Parliament of Independent Members.
Ridding the political arena of political parties would bring many benefits, many of which will be economic, something ordinarily so sort after by The Exchequer. Politicians who err in either their public or private lives would not be able to find sanctuary within the high offices of their party as Cyril ‘Fatty’ Smith, to the shame of the Liberal Party and its Democratic successors, was able to do for so many years as without political parties there would be no need of such protective institutions. I recall in Edwina Currie’s autobiography that a raper and abuser of children was given a high profile job in Government by Margaret Thatcher on the understanding that he ‘behaved himself’, to which he replied ‘I’ll be ever so discrete, I promise’. Please accept my apologies for paraphrasing as I don’t keep books on politics in the house as visitors can get the wrong impression.
With no party machine to turn to when caught out M.P.’s will be left to throw themselves on the mercy of a merciless electorate.
My main objection, though, to political parties, is that individual M.P.’s invariably put the interests of their party and their careers before the interests of the country and the people. We live in an era of career politicians and to rise through the ranks, to have any hope of a well-paid of job in Cabinet, they must tow the party line, to vote against either their conscience or commonsense. There may be exceptions to my rule of thumb though they are few and far between, I suspect.
How many M.P.’s are there, 615 is it? Every one of them should be busting a gut to achieve financial and social prosperity for those who put them into Parliament, not either trying every which way to bring down the Government or seeking to blacken the image of the opposition. The mantra of every Member of Parliament should be ‘Country First’. Individual politicians should pressurise on a daily basis government and its ministers to achieve work for all of its law-abiding citizens, to improve the lives of every child, every working family, every elderly man or woman, to ensuring that the N.H.S. is fit for purpose, that our schools are the best in the world. Not scoring political points in order to get noticed by their party leaders.
Opposition parties on a daily basis do exactly that – they oppose. They oppose through tactical manoeuvring the plans of government to manage and advance the country and its finances, to even thwart the result of referendums and elections. Whether Labour or Conservatives are in opposition the rule of the day is to oppose government. Politicians, I swear, do not see themselves as stokers of political advancement but players in a never-ending game of intellectual hostilities where the professional foul is something to be proud of and allegiance to the leader the only way to greater influence and fortune.
In effect the various political parties pull in the direction that benefits them the most, with what is best for the country of secondary importance. What is created in Westminster by this siege of the self mentally is extremes of negativity that cannot be beneficial to sound political achievement.
I realise that to expect political Nirvana is both naïve and perhaps unachievable in real life but 600-odd politicians with the mind-set of working solely for the people of the country and not divisions of those 600-odd working for their individual parties must surely be an evolution worth debating. Of course this is not in the interests of the political parties so any debate must be started and led by us, the people. This is our country; we have just voted in favour of a giant’s leap into a brave new world. Perhaps now is the time to begin the struggle for a referendum on the future of our political system. Perhaps now is the right time for politics to have evolution forced upon it, as Cromwell once tried to force evolution on the monarchy and the people.